Pushcart Players, the Verona-based, Emmy-nominated and award-winning touring theater for young audiences, has received a generous grant from The Montclair Foundation to support performances of their latest production: “Ellis Island: Gateway to America” in Montclair schools. The presentations will include post-performance discussions and workshops to enhance the arts education benefits of the program.
“Ellis Island: Gateway to America” takes a loving look at a small group of immigrants arriving in America in the early 1900s. They came seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life for themselves, their children, and their children’s children. The play follows this group’s early beginnings in the United States, and explores their impact on future generations up through the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
“This new production provides strong curriculum connections to History and Social Studies,” said Ruth Fost, Pushcart co-founder and playwright of the piece. “With Pushcart’s trademark spin, it affords a powerful theater experience for young audiences. Further, it is timely in helping to understand the value, strength, and precious legacy of diversity provided by immigrants in our country.”
The Montclair Foundation is a nonprofit that awards grants to charitable organizations in the greater Montclair area. With giving in the areas of Family and Social Services, Community, and Arts and Education, The Foundation has supported more than seventy community organizations since its inception in 1979. Equally important is the Foundation’s strong commitment to the historic preservation of the Van Vleck House and Gardens for the education, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment of the region.
“The Foundation’s grant program is intended to support a broad range of activities that contribute to the quality of life in Montclair and it’s environs,” said Tina Jordan, Grants Chair. “We are delighted to be a part of the important work Pushcart does in our community.”
“Ellis Island: Gateway to America” features Layan Elwazani, Stacie Gogo, James Holden and JD Lynch, all playing myriad characters to illuminate the sweeping history and events of the story. Pushcart Players artistic director Paul Whelihan guides the production. Tony and Grammy Award winning arranger and composer Larry Hochman orchestrates the music. The production is stage managed by Robe Evanick and Sam Tucker.
Pushcart Players has traveled over 2 million miles nationally and abroad since 1974 to serve more than 8 million children and their families with meaningful theatre. From the White House to the little red schoolhouse, this dynamic company has received numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A cast of professional Equity actors and stage managers come with complete scenery, lighting and sound systems, making every performance adaptable to any location.